Looking ahead: designing for open

The dataverse

We are in an anthropogenic age in which the digital and physical blur. Where there are more sensors than people.Where everything, whether physical or digital, is being turned into data that can be accessed via the Web. Where we are using our phenomenal advances in technology to codify the world.

The application of AI with the web of data is in its infancy,  but points to the evolution of an ‘algocene’, where algorithms have direct global impact on our society, economy and environment, and data is a critical infrastructure that supports it.

As we hit peak everything (from antibiotics to raw materials), we must work out how to house, feed, employ, protect, heat, transport, make and educate with less. We need to expand our network thinking and place open innovation at the heart of our infrastructure systems design: enabling organisations to become porous by providing them with data, standards, tools and techniques, and engaging billions of people to participate, solve problems and prosper.

I believe the Web is part of our social response to globalisation, helping us remain connected with each other even if we are spatially fragmented.

I believe the web of data is a response that will help us to address the greatest challenges of our time. Yet we haven’t truly accepted that to address our pace of change, we need to design for open.  This does not mean making everything open – far from it – but we must provide the architecture for, embrace and lead with an open approach.


Our digital economy, digital environment and digital society depend on it.


[citation: this a copy of the text I wrote to close out the ODI’s 3rd Annual Report]